When the city authorities planned the redesign of the pedestrian zone and shopping mile Berliner zone, they commissioned a fountain as reminiscence to the former - legendary - dancing halls/cafe(s) that were located in the corner building (see pic 1) from 1891 - 1990. It started with Cafe Hohenzollern, renamed Cafe Fledermaus (the "bat", after the operetta), and finally Cafe Central which closed in 1990.
Sculptor was Vinzenz Wanitschke from Dresden, well-known with excellent reputation. He also worked on the restoration/reconstruction of Dresden's Church of Our Lady (altar e.g.), and created many other sculptures and fountains all over Saxony and East Germany. I like his circus fountain (elephants!) and the fountain in the garden of Hotel Westin Bellevue in Dresden in particular. Vinzenz Wanitschke passed away 2012 in his house in Dresden-Hosterwitz. As far as I know this fountain in Görlitz was his last work, he died before it was put up.
Recently (2011, I think), another cafe was opened in the same building at the corner, also named Cafe Central (see restaurant tip).
I was surprised to find out Görlitz also has a Museum of Natural History - they do not advertise much. It was founded 1860 and has quite large and interesting collections - given the size of the city. Of course it's not comparable to the famous museums of that kind in the big cities.
However, they do have an interesting exhibit on the regional nature. You can learn about the geology of the Lausitz region, the animals that live here, why they do and so on. Most interesting to me were the colourful fishes and corals in the basement, though.
Tue - Fri 10 am - 5 pm
Sat/Sun 10 am - 6 pm
Adults 3 Euro,
Kids 1 Euro
Family tickets available.
Free every 1st Sunday of the month.
Am Museum 1, 02826 Görlitz
(Right in the centre of the town by the Marien tower, trams and buses to Demianiplatz)
The Dark Gate (Finstertor) is the only preserved city gate of the Nikolai district. It was referred to as the "Gate at the Watchman of the Dead" as early as 1455. The neighbouring Franconian style timber-framed house was the executioner's home from 1571 on. Because of his disreputable profession the executioner had to live outside the city walls, and if only just next to the city gate.
Nowadays the Executioner's house is home to the so called "Jugendbauhütte", a vocational training place/school for youth who want to become craftsmen/builders. It's a project founded and promoted by the city, state and the German Heritage Foundation.
Location: walk toward Nikolai church, then turn right to Große Wallstraße, then left to Finstertorstraße.
St. Nikolai is the oldest church of Görlitz. Built at the turn of the 11th/12th century it was rebuilt in Gothic style, starting 1372 with long breaks to 1520.
1525 - 26 the interior was redesigned for the new purpose: a memorial place for the victims of WWI. At the moment it is home of the Jacob Boehme exhibit.
A few examples of the Baroque interior are preserved. The altar dates from 1720, its painting from the 19th century. Very interesting are the lean pillars, which replaced the original Gothic pillars in 1925. They are made of concrete and painted, in a style of impressionistic influenced Neo-Gothic.
May - Oct 11 - 17 h
March, April, Nov 10 - 16 h (Sun from 11 h)
closed Dec - Feb
small admission fee, combi ticket with Holy Sepulchre
This historical cemetery was first mentioned 1310, enlarged 1559. It is definitely one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Germany.
Only very few tombs from the Renaissance are preserved. Most Renaissance tombstones were moved to the other old churches in Görlitz.
Well worth to see are the many magnificent tombs (often small burial houses, see picture) from 1600 to 1848 (when the cemetery was closed).
Don't miss to see the tomb of the local hero, philosopher Jacob Böhme, who died 1624.
The cemetery has an unique atmosphere, go and feel yourself! A hint: restoration has just started, many tombs and small burial houses are in bad condition. I hope that the special charm has not gone after restoration.
opening hours: see St. Nikolai church (previous tip), no admission fee
The ground between the two town walls along the river bank, named Ochsenbastei, has been turned into a little park that looks like a really really romantic spot to sit and relax or talk on a warm summer evening.
Unfortunately it is closed in winter. My accommodation had a direct exit into Ochsenbastei and my key fit the door so I could have... but I did not dare venture out into forbidden ground. Footsteps show in the snow. I only had a look and caught a picture from the door, with long neck and long camera arm.
The official entrance during the warmer seasons is from Uferstraße through the gate next to the fat grey round tower.
This is the other relic of the double city wall ring of Görlitz. It stretches from St. Peter and Paul church north to the preserved Hother bastion, from there west and then south to Nikolai tower, the former city gate. In 1953/54 the ward was converted to a botanical garden. In the 1990s the garden was turned into a mix of formal garden/English garden. A staircase leads up to Karpfengrund where you find the oldest settling ground of Görlitz.
This garden is less about views - like the Ochsenbastei garden is - it is more intimate and quieter, hardly visited by tourists. One of my favourite places. Bring your picnic!
Not very much of the city fortifications is preserved. One of the few is the Ochsenbastei along the Neiße river, close to the old town bridge. The ground between the city walls was turned into a nice formal garden where you can sit on benches and watch the flowers and small fountains. Don't miss to walk up the small staircase to the higher ground where you find a pergola with wisterias, lilies and another fountain.
The synagogue of Görlitz is one of the few in Germany that were not much affected by the Reichskristallnacht. However, the Jewish congragation was gone and only re-founded in 2005. Currently they negotiate with the city authorities about further use of the synagogue.
The building was constructed by Lossow & Kühne in Art Nouveau style 1909-11. It is a huge structure with a massive dome and tower, richly decorated inside. Unfortunately restoration works were stopped due to lack of funds. At least they ran some tests inside.
Location is Otto-Müller-Str. 3, next to the catholic church of the Holy Cross.
This was the first catholic church built after the reformation - it was erected 1850-53 according to plans of August Soller, a co-worker Schinkel's, in Neo-Byzantine style. The interior from that time is well preserved, slightly restored 1993-95.
The altar painting is a gift of Bavarian King Ludwig I. Most of the beautiful staine-glass windows are from 1853 and 1893. Remarkable is the chapel with a copy of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa/Poland.
The door is usually open during daytime.
It was almost time to say goodbye to our German friends, but they suggested visiting one more place before we parted. Obercunnersdorf is one of Lusatian villages known for half-timbered houses (called in German Umgebindenhauser).
The place is absolutely charming. There are about 200 half-timbered houses in the area, following the same design but with different ornamentation patterns. The common element are wodden arches which carry the weight of the upper storey, little windows and slanting roofs. Most of the houses in this village have outer walls covered with slates laid in different patterns.
I loved the place, it's so picturesque. I wish we could get inside the houses. It's not impossible. I've read that once a year there are 'open-door' days held in Lusatia, when you can enter some of the houses. Still another reason to come back.
After a stroll around Goerlitz we felt like spending some time 'closer to nature'. After all, it was the last weekend of summer holidays, which meant that from now on we'll have to spend most of the time in the city.
The owner of our guesthouse suggested we should climb Landeskrone hill, for its nice walking trails and great views from the top. He was absolutely right. The walk up this 420 m high hill was not strenous, at all. The hill is overgrown by beech and spruce forest which provides welcome shade on a hot day. At the top there is a nice restaurant, with quite a handful of guests at the time of our visit , which proves that Landeskrone is a popular excursion place. And the views from the top (there's a view platform) are absolutely stunning.
The Strassburg Passage is a shopping passage which connects the Berliner Strasse and the Jacobstrasse. In 1887 Otto Strassburg founded his imperium. He constantly bought new buildings and properties and finally built this Jugendstil passage.
You will find this passage between the railway station and Postplatz along Berliner Strasse.
The Heilig Kreuz Kirche was built as the first catholic church after the reformation from 1850-53. It was built in neo-byzantine style. After restoration in 1995 it was once more used as a church.
You will find it next to the Stadtpark and the New Synagogue.
On Heilige-Grab-Strasse in Goerlitz you will find the Holy grail. The holy grail chapel is a copy of the one in Jerusalem. The city's maire Georg Emmerich didn't behave like he should have done and went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After his return he financed all this.
Opening times from April till September is from 10 am till 6 pm and in the other months from 11 am till 4 pm